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" WING AND A PRAYER "
Signed by 1st Lieutenant/pilot Robert Cardwell - DFC - Air Medal
The Machine - B17G Flying Fortress: The B17 "Flying Fortress" took on many of the toughest and most dangerous bombing missions of the war. They bombed by daylight which meant they often had to fight their way to and from the target. The B17G models shown here had four 1,200 horsepower 9 cylinder turbocharged radial engines which could drive the heavy bomber up to 287mph maximum speed or a cruising speed of 182mph.
The B17G could reach 35,600' and it was very heavily armed with a total of 13 heavy (50cal.) machine guns. It had a range of 2,000 to 3,400 miles depending on the load and could carry up to 9,600lb of bombs with an average load being 4,000 to 5,000lb. On this mission they carried 10 500lb bombs.
The standard crew at this time was made up of 9 people, a pilot, co-pilot, bombardier/turret gunner, radio operator, navigator/cheek gunner, flight engineer/top turret gunner, ball turret gunner, waist gunner, and a tail gunner.
A true star of the Allied bombing campaigns, the B17 justified it's name of "Fortress" and carried many airmen through perilous missions and returned against all odds.
The Man and the Mission: The mission shown here was flown Robert Kit Cardwell against an aircraft component plant in Frankfurt.
Shortly after dropping its load, Robert's aircraft "Little Lovely" was hit by a heavy flak burst which destroyed control cables, caused the engines to over-run and left over 250 holes in the aircraft, about 50 of which were the size of a fist. This was Little Lovely's 95th and final mission.
The crew of Little Lovely was most grateful for Mr. Cardwell's exceptional flying skill which brought them home safely.
The 379th Bomb Group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its distinguished performance in combat.
Wing and a Prayer - Len Krenzler
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